Suppose you get into your car to go to work one morning as usual.
As soon as you approach a main thoroughfare, you realize that traffic laws no longer seem to matter to most of the drivers. One car approaches you head-on, driving north in a southbound lane. After swerving to avoid that car, you barely escape another collision; a person driving a pickup truck going east decides to disobey the red light. The chaos you encounter on the road would convince anyone of the necessity of obeying traffic laws.
If we need laws to prevent mass casualties on city streets and highways, why do some people believe that living their lives without any absolutes to guide their decision making will produce a good outcome? If our fellow travelers on the road of life make up the rules as they go along, disaster is sure to follow. “None of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone” (Romans 14:7, NIV). Our behavior and decisions affect other people.
Rules and Consequences
Yet today, many seem overly preoccupied with themselves, to the detriment of those around them. As John Donne said, “No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.” If one person in a family makes selfish choices, the other family members suffer. If a worker takes advantage of an employer, his or her fellow workers are likely to come under greater scrutiny and stricter rules. If company officials take huge salaries at the expense of the workers, morale plummets and loyalty to the company vanishes. In each of these situations, some temporary gain or benefit for the individual is achieved at the expense of the cohesiveness of the group, the long-term outcome, and the good of others.
Dr. Denis Waitley, a motivational speaker, stated, “To exist just for yourself is meaningless. You can achieve the most satisfaction when you feel related to some greater purpose in life, something greater than yourself.” Many, however, exalt self-fulfillment and happiness as their purpose or reason for living. Our society has adopted a “live and let live” attitude. According to this mindset, old views of morality are no longer valid. An individual is free to choose any lifestyle he or she desires, with no restraints, regardless of the ultimate impact on others or on society. Therefore, the ethics of Christianity are becoming less popular and are increasingly viewed as overly restrictive, bigoted, and narrow-minded.
Jesus stressed two commandments: “‘”Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments'” (Matthew 22:37–40, NIV). If all the inhabitants of earth loved God with all their heart, soul, and mind, can you imagine what the world would be like? Truly loving God would cause people to love others and look out for them.
Although such an ideal world is impossible now because of man’s fallen nature and the influence of the evil one, someday it will be a wonderful reality. Jesus will return to reign over all the nations of the earth. “He will rule them with an iron scepter; he will dash them to pieces like pottery” (Revelation 2:27; Psalm 2:9, NIV). With God’s law as the final authority, both humankind and nature will flourish.
With this final picture in view, Psalm 2:11 urges, “Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling” (NIV). We must not allow the philosophies of our world to determine how we will live our lives. For the sake of the gospel, for our families, and for those around us, we must make loving and obeying God our highest goal.